Sport Rugby

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Sean O'Brien drops hint he could leave Leinster and move abroad

Leinster's Sean O'Brien
Leinster's Sean O'Brien
Séan O'Brien
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Sean O'Brien has indicated that he'd prefer to stay at Leinster beyond the end of this season but admitted he will consider all of his options before signing a new deal with the IRFU.

The Ireland flanker's two-year contract is up in June and he and his representatives have yet to begin discussions with union performance director David Nucifora about an extension.

The Tullow Tank came close to joining Toulon in 2014 when his future was last up for discussion, before deciding to remain at home at the eleventh hour. After his excellent World Cup displays, O'Brien is likely to attract strong interest from all the big-spending European clubs and he remains open to the "attractive" option of moving abroad.

However, he praised Nucifora's impact on the renewal process and is hoping that the Australian presents him with a good deal.

"It's something you want to get done quickly, then you have peace of mind and security," he said. "The way it's been structured, it's been done quickly and effectively. The union have stepped up to the mark, Dave has done a great job.

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"That has a part to play, it's something I did think long and hard about and it is very attractive to go over somewhere foreign, to a different club.

"At the same time Leinster have something special that I've been a part of for a long time and you really want to stay there and be part of that group. That's where my mind is, but when contracts are being talked about you have to do what's best for you."

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O'Brien also spoke for the first time about punching Pascal Papé in the opening minutes of Ireland's pool win over France, the moment that ruled him out of the Argentina defeat.

"There's a part of me that regrets it and a part of me that doesn't," he said.

"It put a statement out to a few of their bully boys that we weren't going to be bullied. Obviously the bigger picture, it shouldn't have happened."

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